I drove past Commonwealth Stadium today on my way back from the hospital and, aside from being physically large; absolutely nothing draws you to it. It was empty, of course, but more than empty, it was dead. My immediate reactive image was of a rundown stadium where nothing has happened for years. An abandoned building, if you will. Literally the large UK billboard looked torn and chipped. The image distorted. The outside walls of the stadium looked dingy. Picture cobwebs blowing in this Autumn wind. It was depressing. I feel like those few seconds I saw the stadium took energy and life right away from my body.
After CWS left my view, it occurred to me that what I saw is reflective of many, if not all, of the UK football fans around the state. And part of that is OUR fault. What I mean is that we are at fault for how we react to all situations and when we flake on supporting these young men, that’s not their fault. When we don’t go to CWS and cheer them on or we don’t renew our season tickets, that’s not their fault, it’s our fault.
We don’t like the quality of coaching we’ve been getting from Joker and his staff (as if we can do any better), and until recently against the likes of Georgia, we didn’t care much for the quality of play from the players either. We’d given up on them. Said they’d given up on themselves and the program. We talked, talked, talked. And to be fair, here at the Wildcat Blue Nation, I am arguably the most NOT POSITIVE opinion to seek for an outlook on a game or season or coaching staff member.
But as I was looking at the remaining three game schedule for the Wildcats this season, for some reason, I no longer see the merciful end to a dreadful season. And I am not counting the days until Joker gets fired or resigns, and not because I don’t think either will happen, but because in spite of all the tumult surrounding the program, the poor record and M*A*S*H unit full of injuries, Joker does not appear to have his buried in the sand. He knows his seat is the hottest around, and his fate possibly sealed, but he doesn’t duck questions about it and has opted to have a little fun with it. The quotes below from Joker were a few compiled by Kyle Tucker of the Courier Journal:
ON SOME IN MEDIA NOW PUBLICLY CALLING FOR HIS FIRING: “I’m sure they are. I was coming over here today, and I got in the car, and my seat was hot. And I looked up, and I’d hit the seat warmer.”
ON TALKING TO ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MITCH BARNHART: “I shouldn’t say this (grinning). I was going to tell you guys last week after I left, Mitch and I talked. We’ve been talking about an extension. (laughs) No, I’m just kidding. No, it hasn’t changed. We have talked. Again, just, ‘Hey, how are you doing? I’m doing good.’ Just small talk. Talking like friends do weekly. No, we have not (talked job status), and that’s been his policy to wait till the end of the year.”
I laugh every time I read them because, I imagine that like Joker, I laugh to avoid crying. The season is down to this point. Three games left. Two at Commonwealth Stadium against Vanderbilt and Samford. Both winnable, though I predict we do not with both. Then the final game is away at Tennessee. This is a winnable game too but after how closely they played USC, I don’t see that one either.
And at this point, I can handle the losses because the term “winnable game” has lost all meaning to the Big Blue Nation because we haven’t won even the “winnable games.” Our claim to fame thus far this year is beating Kent State who went to New Jersey and beat then #15 ranked Rutgers like Calipari does Pitino every year.